When a medical emergency strikes, every second counts. But can a smartphone app really save your life?
"Well I'm convinced he would have died if I had waited," said Melissa Ketterer.
Melissa says an app on her iPhone helped save her husband's life. One day in April, Bob Ketterer, with no sense of alarm, said his right arm felt numb. Melissa typed Bob's symptoms into an app called iTriage.
"And it pulled up numbness and the top of the list is stroke," Melissa said.
The app not only warned of a possible stroke, it advised going straight to the emergency room and gave directions to the closest one. Bob was having a stroke, and doctors stopped it before he suffered major brain damage.
iTriage was the brainchild of private app developers, but the app's inner working rely heavily on data from the U.S. Government.
The app has a list of doctors and clinics compiled by Medicare and other federal records. And directions to the hospital came from the taxpayer launched GPS satellite system. This marriage of smartphones, public information and private ingenuity has helped drive an exploding app economy that's grown in value from zero to $20 billion in just four years.
The man responsible for giving away what the government knows is the US Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park.
"The benefit to real people is there is a massively growing array of new services products and applications that can help Americans take control of their own health and health care," Park said.
"And you don't need a master's degree to be able to use an app," said Melissa.
To Melissa Ketterer, the benefits of the handheld information industry came clear on an April afternoon. With her husband's life in the balance, she had an app for that.
Again, that app Melissa Ketterer used on her iPhone is called iTriage.